Productivity and so much more11 Nov 21
The Get it Right Initiative was born from a desire to improve the productivity of the UK construction industry by eliminating avoidable errors. It came from a realisation of just how much money was being wasted each year across the sector as a result of error, and an acknowledgement that, when it comes to productivity, the UK construction sector lagged behind its peers in many other countries.
Initial research estimated the industry’s annual spend as a result of error was around seven times the sector’s total annual profit. That early research shaped our core message to the industry: get it right, don’t put it right. Eliminate rework and resources wasted on error and you will improve your productivity.
That message remains just as relevant today, perhaps even more so as the industry faces a shortage of both materials and skills. When resources are in short supply, it is vital not to waste what resources you have.
It is now more than five years on from GIRI’s beginnings and during this period there has been immense change, with all the uncertainty that brings. It is appropriate therefore to take stock of where GIRI stands in relation to changing industry priorities, what we want to achieve, and how we communicate that to our members and the wider industry. The landscape has changed. Grenfell, Brexit, Covid, and the worsening climate crisis have all added to the external pressures on the sector and bring new challenges for businesses seeking to get it right first time. At the same time, digital transformation and modern methods of construction have been changing construction from within.
In our messaging and activities we cannot ignore these internal and external factors, because they all have the potential to affect the reduction of error and impact on productivity. Likewise, we also have to recognise that reducing error helps to improve safety, quality, and efficiency, conserve valuable resources, reduce waste and improve sustainability, thus enabling the industry to tackle these other pressing challenges.
GIRI has explored these wider benefits of a zero-error culture over the last year, in particular where they fit within our original strategic purpose. Topics have ranged from how greater diversity can bring in valuable new approaches – and help the industry address the current labour shortage – to the way in which off-site and modular construction change the trajectory of projects and the potential for error. This consideration of our message from a broader perspective has shown that it does not just improve productivity, but that it can also deliver other important benefits in the continuing challenge to improve construction sector outcomes.
If GIRI’s initial research held up a mirror to the industry to highlight the huge and unnecessary cost of error, our activities since – through our working groups, forums, and training – have focused on giving our members the tools to develop the culture, skills and working environment to deliver zero error. If implementing this approach can also help our members meet other critical industry goals such as net zero, we will continue to highlight these wider benefits.
In addition, work continues behind the scenes on the Error Frequency Ratio. Like the Accident Frequency Ratio, which underpinned the health and safety culture change, we see this as a vital industry metric for quality and one that could transform the drive to eliminate error. We will also continue to explore related issues and how these impact on error and look beyond our own industry for examples of best practice that can be applied to construction.
Does that change our core message? Quite the opposite. “Get it right, don’t put it right” remains the GIRI mantra, because by doing so you will not only improve productivity, but you will also reap all the related benefits of a zero-error culture.
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